Accessibility links

As a rapidly relapsing programmer, I like this encouragement (not that I really want to rule the world) from a tweet from Jonathan Schwartz, the outgoing CEO of Sun. His prediction was in reference to Kwedit, an intriguing new service that allows people that don't have credit cards to buy digital content over the web. Launched just under a fortnight ago, Kwedit are solving the problem of the 20m US teenagers and 30m households who don't have credit cards and consequently have no way to pay for (virtual) goods online.

As a rapidly relapsing programmer, I like this encouragement (not that I really want to rule the world) from a tweet from Jonathan Schwartz, the outgoing CEO of Sun. His prediction was in reference to Kwedit, an intriguing new service that allows people that don't have credit cards to buy digital content over the web. Launched just under a fortnight ago, Kwedit are solving the problem of the 20m US teenagers and 30m households who don't have credit cards and consequently have no way to pay for (virtual) goods online.

Kwedit allows people to buy goods over the web, then either pay at a convenience store, or by securely mailing cash, or via Kwedit's "social payment network" which lets you designate someone else (lucky them) to pay on your behalf. In the world of digital music, smart phone apps and online TV episodes - Kwedit sounds like it fills a gap.

What's really interesting though is that there's a strong emphasis in their products on the financial literacy implications for teens:

Kwedit Promise provides a safe, virtual environment in which consumers can learn about credit and develop financial literacy – with no real-world implications.

Users are given a Kwedit score according to how frequently they pay on time and the service functions as a place in which teens can simulate financial credit - in the same way that the BSM use driving simulators to give you basic training before heading out into the dangerous real world. It's the sort of thing you wish the big banks had thought of five years ago.

But what does this have to do with behavioural economics? For one thing, the cognitive bias of delayed gratification bias (self control) is well known, and strikingly researched in children by Walter Mischel in his marshmallow experiment. Mischel investigated the self control of children by presenting them with a marshmallow and giving them the choice to eat their marshmallow, or wait for 20 minutes and receive a second marshmallow. Follow-up research indicated that the children able to stave off temptation tended to receive higher ratings for being dependable and higher SAT scores later in life.

I'm still mulling this over, but I'd love to hear what effect Kwedit might have teenagers' self control a few years down the line - let me know what you think!

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